Sweetnorthernsaint, Ah Day nominated for `George' 'Cap

February 09, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER

Maryland horse racing fans could be in for quite a treat Feb. 19, with a possible showdown between Sweetnorthern- saint, the betting favorite in the Kentucky Derby and second-place finisher in the Preakness last spring, and Ah Day, the winner of six stakes races last year and Maryland's Horse of the Year.

Both are nominated to the $300,000 Grade II General George Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"We're leaning toward the General George," said Sweetnorthernsaint trainer Mike Trombetta, who also nominated the horse to the John B. Campbell Handicap on Feb. 17

Trombetta acknowledged that it would be fun for Maryland fans to see The Saint and Ah Day go head-to-head in the seven-furlong clash.

"Ah Day is a very nice horse and he's running very well right now," Trombetta said of the King Leatherbury-trained 4-year-old.

The Campbell is an ungraded $115,000 handicap competed over 1 1/8 miles, the same day as the $300,000, seven-furlong Grade II Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap.

When nominations closed yesterday, 27 fillies and mares had been nominated to the Fritchie, including multiple stakes winners Wild Gams, Leah's Secret and Silmaril.

The General George had 25 nominations, including Bishop Court Hill from the Todd Pletcher stable and Diabolical, the runner-up in the Grade I Frank J. De Francis Dash. A total of 28 entered the Campbell.

Trombetta said Sweetnorthernsaint came out of his most recent race, a fifth-place finish in the Jan. 27 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park, in fine condition.

"But it's very unlikely I'll try an outside post in a race like that again," Trombetta said, of the No. 12 starting position. "The outside post made things difficult. It's one thing to try it in a 1 1/8 -mile race on a track with a mile circumference, and another to try it in a race like that in which the track is 1 1/8 miles around with such a short run up to the turn."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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